You are the average of the five people you most associate with - Tim Ferriss
Pick your apes wisely. No, not those apes. The apes you spend the most time with. This doesn't just include face-to-face time but virtual time. Choosing who you surround yourself with can have one of the biggest impacts on your life. We're wired to want to fit in and we can use this to our advantage. Part of that is choosing your virtual apes wisely.
You'll notice that when you start spending more time with a certain group of friends or a new partner, your behaviors start to change. This can be for better or worse. You see it all the time. Someone goes off to college and comes home to realize how similar (and often off) people's opinions are. Someone joins a new company and they immediately become more serious and have different priorities in life.
The crazy part is - this applies to who we associate with online. If we're trying to outdo our friends on Instagram to get the most followers and likes, we enter a social spiral. Though it's even simpler than that. Just the people you follow will greatly impact your perception of reality. Our brain thinks the people we follow are part of our tribe. You learn what is normal by what people post, whether that's news, pictures, or opinions. If you're not conscious of what's influencing you, your thoughts and ideas will eventually line up with your tribe's.
Knowing how influential your friends and digital friends are can be used as a hack to make you better. Spending time around people you want to be like and consuming content from people you admire can quickly change who you are.
For me, this looked like deleting Instagram and replacing it with Twitter. We all need time to let our minds rest. Our phones will happily scratch that itch. Now instead of scrolling through useless photos, I'll scroll through interesting ideas, advice, and updates of what people are building. My digital environment is filled with amazing founders, scientists, philosophers, and investors who reframe my reality of what's possible. This tweet is what inspired me to start this blog and start building more:
Changing what I consumed changed my reality of what is normal. If I spend 30 minutes a day on Twitter and everything I see is quality advice, tips on building wealth, and everyone is a builder, my new sense of normalcy has changed and it's human nature to want to fit in.
By spending time with high-quality people both virtually and in real life, you're biologically wired to improve your thoughts, habits, and life.